Chic Street Man | His Music Transcends Cultural and Attitudinal Barriers, Bringing His Message

Chic Street Man

His Music Transcends Cultural and Attitudinal Barriers, Bringing His Message

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Chic Street Man

Chic Street Man is a uniquely talented artist with an international following. His music transcends cultural and attitudinal barriers, bringing home his message of harmony and ethnic diversity through acoustic bluesy ballads, funky rhythms, and jazzy upbeat originals.

Chic has been a featured performer in the US, France and in other parts of Europe, including the Montreux, Paleo and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, and the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva. Whether singing at a United Nations conference on human rights or engaging students at a local high school assembly, he connects. He has the rare ability to engage all audiences; adults, teens, children, seniors, and entire families to make them laugh, think and feel good inside.

Chic is also a celebrated communications facilitator and has presented for many organizations, including The Young Presidents Organization (YPO) in Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and the USA. His world-class workshop "The Freedom of Expression" uses the stage to empower participants to strengthen their ability to connect with others.

Chic is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. Degree in Psychology. He served as Head of the Department of Psychodrama at a Community Hospital in Carmel, CA; the Executive Director of a Fair Housing program in Hayward, CA; and the instructor of a class titled The Creative Process at Occidental College in L.A. before deciding to focus exclusively on his music. He recorded his first album, Growing Up, in Paris, France and later landed in Santa Barbara, CA where he founded Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts and where he released his second album, Make It Thru the Night. Chic was the Artistic Director of the Boston production of the international play, Peace Child, touring with the company in Russia and Poland. He was a featured performer at the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York for the International Day of Peace and gave benefit concerts for the United Nations Human Rights Center in Geneva. Chic later returned to Geneva as a featured artist for the United Nations Awards Celebration honoring indigenous caregivers.

Chic composed the music and starred in the off-Broadway hit show, Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe from three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston and performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Crossroads Theater in New Jersey, The Royal Court in London, The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, The Berkeley and Seattle Repertory Theaters and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He received a 1990 Audelco Award and a 1992 NAACP Theater Arts Award for his music and performance in Spunk. Chic also composed the music for Permutations, a segment of PBS's "Great Performances" presentation of George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum. Chic composed the score and starred in the Berkeley Repertory Theater's production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. He was a contributing author, performer and musical arranger for the Denver Center Theater Company's It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues in 1995, and toured with the show in D.C., Arizona, Kansas City and Seattle. Chic composed the score for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's world premiere of A Lesson Before Dying. He composed the score and was the featured performer in the Cleveland Playhouse's world premiere of Touch The Names--Letters to The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. He wrote and performed A Black History of The Blues for the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Chic also co-authored and starred in Passing The Blues Along at the Crossroads Theater in New Jersey, and was the Arranger, Musical Director and Composer for the McCarter and Berkeley Repertory Theater's production of Zora Neale Hurston's Polk County, where he also won the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Musical Direction. In 2005 he played the role of "Slow Drag" at the Seattle Repertory Theater's production of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. In 2006 he composed the music and starred in Richard Wright's Native Son at Seattle's Intiman Theater. Chic was Professor Slick in Pullman Porter Blues at the Seattle Rep, Arena Stage in DC and the Goodman Theater in Chicago and Rev. Gary Davis in the Vineyard Playhouse production of Search: Paul Clayton. He starred in Low Down Dirty Blues at the Milwaukee Rep, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and the Arizona Theater Company. In 1998 he starred in the Mark Taper Forum production of Lost Highway, the story of Hank Williams, and in the OSF/Seattle Rep production of Fannie Lou Hammer. He has appeared in the films Triple Bogey and Hangin' With The Home Boys. He is also the writer, singer, and composer of several albums including: Lullablues, Growing Up, Make it Thru the Night, Everybody Be Yo'self, Guns Away, Beau-ti-ful and Left Foot Down. Chic was on faculty at the Heifetz International Music Institute in Staunton, VA for twenty-one years.

the freedom of expression

This workshop is called "The Freedom of Expression". It is designed for students, faculty, and corporate professionals to gain more confidence in communicating. Individuals in the areas of music, law, theater, medicine, athletics, education and government also benefit enormously from this program. There's no limit to who will benefit from the freedom of expression.

I use storytelling and theater-like games (and music when possible), so that individuals can explore, develop and share creative insights, in a trusting and relaxed environment, and always with the notion of having a good time.

I took a look at some of our most gifted entertainers; Groucho Marx, Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Bill Cosby, Gilda Ratner, Jimmy Durante, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, and asked what it was that made them so fascinating to look at, to listen to? What was their magic, their charm? I found they had a willingness to share, to connect with their audience.

The stage becomes a metaphor for getting up, "getting down" and exploring that willingness to share. We all have things to say, talented or not, and when we successfully communicate them we are entertaining, we are holding the attention of our audience. Math teachers have to hold the audience's attention, so do engineers, doctors, lawyers, and business men and women. We all must learn to do this, and when we do we are entertainers.

We are not trying to turn students and people of business into Broadway stars. We simply wish to borrow some of the entertainer's insight and talent in order to strengthen our own ability to communicate.

--Chic Street Man

My motto is "Even vegetarians have a little bit of ham". A little bit of ham is healthy. It's what makes us want to communicate. We attach this ham to the ordinary vehicles of communication, the way we talk, body language, eye contact and temporarily exaggerate to get a good look at our own willingness to be connected. It's fun. And, it works.


"Chic's presentation received the highest rating on our evaluation form of any of the weekly staff development sessions we had all year."-- Micael Kemp, Coordinator of Staff Development, Career and Counseling Services, UCSB

"Chic Street Man is a man of unique gifts. He has a tremendous understanding of all aspects of the arts. His depth of knowledge from classical, to jazz, to dance, to theater and beyond is truly inspiring. In all my years in the business and throughout all my travels I have never met anyone who embodies such breadth of perspective. I have seen Chic communicate to and inspire students from kindergarten to post-graduate adulthood. He is able to teach the musical experience to the human experience. I consider Chic Street Man one of this country's greatest cultural resources." -- Daniel Heifetz, Founder/Director, Heifetz International Music Insitute

"Chic Street Man's ability to reach and bring together such a diverse group of individuals became evident...his high energy level and confidence created an environment which encouraged freedom of expression, risk taking, and enjoyment while learning...his comfort and ease, combined with the skills of master teaching, modeled the principles he sought to teach." -- Fran Wallace-Schutzman, Assistant Dean, MILLS COLLEGE

"Through his music Chic creates an environment so safe that even the most diverse groups join with him to reach out to each other." -- Rachel Poliner, BOSTON EDUCATORS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

"As the country looks for solutions...the example of Chic Street Man is on view...A child received a message: You have a skill, you have a future, you matter...Lives are changed like that." -- Colman McCarthy, THE WASHINGTON POST

"Chic has a winning style that's easy, and a masterful touch that is right on target. His workshop was outstanding. He has a special quality as a person that should be shared with as many people as possible." -- Wendy D. Graham, Instructor of Drama, MERCER COUNTY SCHOOL OF PERFORMING ARTS

"Chic is a real find. He exudes warmth, tranquility and an easy going charm that naturally extends to his music." -- Moira McCormick, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE

Chic's travels at home and abroad give him the opportunity to function as a good will ambassador whose message of realistic optimism inspires as it entertains. I for one could listen to him by the hour. -- Stuart Duncan, NEW JERSEY NEWS REVIEW

"Chic created a fun, respectful and empowering experience for our student participants. The students left 'feeling good' about themselves and with one another, empowering them with courage, determination and personal skills to succeed in life. As one student put it...'It's a good feeling to attend a workshop that makes you feel positive and capable to do anything'." -- Linda M. Ando, OMA Mentor Program Coordinator, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Hattie's Ax

Hattie's Ax is a tale of forgiveness with authentic music in two acts. It is a play with a lot of music (as opposed to being a musical), written and performed by Chic Street Man.

Hattie's Ax conveys the story of a young black girl by the name of Hattie Beasely Smith, my great grandmother, who was raped at the age of fifteen by a young white boy in Augusta, GA. She became angry and frustrated when nothing was done to the boy for what he'd done, and in helpless protest she went mute. She soon realized she was pregnant and tried to abort the child, but my grandmother, a fiesty little fetus, survived the attempt. Not long afterwards Hattie was given a guitar, and she never put it down. The guitar became her voice for eventually transitioning back into the speaking world. She became a master at bottleneck blues guitar, and a prominent fixture in the community. She triumphed over her hardships and had a wonderful reputation for generosity and bigheartedness.

Hattie had another daughter and adopted two more before she died at the age of forty-nine. She always wanted to be buried with her guitar, but shortly before she died her guitar came up missing. Hattie's Ax tells the journey taken by her four daughters, seventeen years after her passing, to honor her request; to find her guitar and bury it with her.

All my life I've heard my mother say, "boy, you think you can pick that guitar, you should'a heard your great grandmother pick that thing."

--Chic Street man

chic in concert

Chic is a uniquely talented artist with an international following.

Whether singing at a United Nations conference on human rights or engaging students at a local high school assembly, Chic connects. His music transcends barriers of culture and attitude, ranging from bluesy urban acoustic ballads to funky, jazzy, upbeat originals.

Chic explores a love for people, music, and the planet. An exciting singer, writer, and performer, he inspires audiences to help make the world a better place . . . soulful, and full of wit and humor.

Chic performs in concert both at home and abroad acknowledging every day social issues through his music and easy going style.

He incorporates a variety of musical forms all of which have roots that can be traced back to the ancient African tradition of storytelling with call and response. The stories are used for the purpose of spinning a tale, but always to instill in the listeners the spirit of an honorable life and the value of living in harmony with others; and to inspire them to make positive contributions to society.

His guitar is a natural extension of his body. He uses it and his voice to create music that transcends barriers of culture and attitude. His songs explore a love for people, music and the planet and allow the audience to feel, laugh and think about themselves in relationship to the world around them. He has the rare ability to engage all audiences; adults, teens, children, seniors and entire families to make them laugh, think and feel good inside.

Chic Street Man
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